Cape Town - Revenge will be on the cards for the international
entrants when amateurs from 18 countries around the globe converge for the 2017
Curro South African Juniors International (SAJI) at Durbanville Golf Club from March 7-9.
Hrinda from Slovakia - the Boys Division runner-up in 2016 - will relish
another show-down with local defending champion, Garrick Higgo from De Zalze
The Stellenbosch junior fended off a final round charge from
Hrinda to claim a three-stroke victory that sparked a purple patch for the
17-year-old and saw him rocket to second in the South African Golf Association
(SAGA) Junior Rankings.
Luca Filippi from Western Province, who ranks third, are currently South
Africa’s top candidates for the International Team to compete in the inaugural
Junior Presidents Cup in September and they will be tough to beat on home soil.
GolfRSA National Squad duo will have to deal with a strong local challenge led
by Ekurhuleni’s Jayden Schaper, reigning Nomads SA Boys Under-17 champion Wilco
Nienaber from Free State and Curro Aurora learner Cole Stevens from Parkview
Golf Club in Gauteng.
Nienaber and Stevens all rank inside the top 10 on the SAGA Under-17 following
outstanding seasons in 2016.
Schaper, ranked second, enjoyed a trio of
victories, including the Nomads SA Boys U-15 Championship and the Tshwane
Nienaber moved to third to third following a victory at Benoni
Country Club earlier this year and Stevens, who produced an outstanding top
five finish in the World Junior Golf Championship in Jakarta last June, ranks
seventh in the standings.
Son from Curro Aurora made her debut in the SAJI at the tender age of 11 and
remains the youngest player to participate in the Global Junior Golf Tour
start her sixth appearance as the defending champion in the Girls Division and
talented Country Club Johannesburg player is already showing the form that
carried her to the top of the Womens Golf South Africa (WGSA) Junior Rankings
in 2016. Although she
slipped to second, Son bolstered her position with back-to-back victories in
the first two weeks of the 2017 season. She captured the Boland Junior
Championship and repeated her 2016 winning performance at Durbanville Country
Club to lift the Nomads WP Junior Championship title again in January.
However, the Gauteng junior can
brace herself for a stiff opposition this year.
Beukes from Boland, who placed third in last year’s event, leads the local
challenge alongside current number one senior Kajal Mistry from Gauteng, who
also leads the junior rankings by a whisker from Son.
for another stab at success is 2014 champion Kayleigh Telfer from Gauteng. The
country’s number two ranked player had to skip last year’s event in favour of
her matric year but, having banked the Eastern Province double earlier this
month, Telfer is eager to add another SAJI title to her tally before she leaves
for the United States to take up a golf scholarship at Auburn University.
This marks the
seventh successive year that South Africa hosts the tournament and the fourth
year that the event is sponsored by Curro Holdings.
The 148-strong field
will feature 79 of South Africa’s most talented juniors, while 69 players
representing 17 countries make up the balance of the field. The foreign entries
include Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy,
Namibia, the Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, Slovakia, Swaziland, Sweden,
Switzerland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, as well as Australia, who makes a welcome return
after an absence of three years with three participants in the Boys Division
and two players in the Girls Division.
Over the first two
rounds of the event, 11 counties will also compete in the annual International
“There is no other
tournament like this in Southern Africa,” said tournament director Erica
“The Curro SAJI is a
prestigious, fully integrated international amateur tournament on the local
calendar and the biggest junior international tournament in South Africa.
“The championship is
fully endorsed by South Africa’s amateur golf’s governing bodies GolfRSA, the
SAGA and WGSA and also
recognised by golf federations around the world. Not only does the Curro SAJI
carry World Junior Rankings and the Royal & Ancient World Amateur Rankings,
but it also offers WGSA and SAGA junior ranking points. These rankings form the
foundation of a fair and accurate world ranking system that opens doors to
scholarships and facilitate training at world-class academies.”
Operations Director of Curro Golf Lisa
Mackenzie said the Curro SAJI perfectly fits with Curro Golf’s vision to create
a standardised golfing pathway for learners across the country.
“This event not only offers the juniors the
chance to go against each other, but the Curro South African Juniors
International brings all the players together creating future friendships and
relationships,” Mackenzie said.
“At Curro Golf we aim to create an opportunity
for these young players to become role models for future golfers and to
encourage other students to take up the game and participate in a competitive
environment. We are committed to develop golfers from the SA Golf Development
Board (SAGDB) through scholarships.
“In 2016, Franklin Manchest
was the highest ranked SADGB player in the event and he was given an
opportunity to take part in the German Juniors, where he excelled and finished
second in his age group. Up-and-coming talent grade eight scholar Carl Mwale from
Curro Aurora finished fifth in the eighth Albatross International Golf
Championship India last year. With players like Franklin and Carl, we foresee great champions in the
making and the Curro SAJI is the perfect platform for them to gain experience
and exposure to top international talent.”